Orphaned baby polecats rescued by RSPCA

Polecat The polecat babies were all found abandoned

Related Stories

Three baby polecat orphans have been rescued from three different locations.

One of the creatures was just four weeks old when it was discovered in Llandovery, Carmarthenshire, and has had to be hand-reared.

The other two were found in Carmarthenshire's Brechfa forest and near Borth in Ceredigion.

Polecats were driven to the brink of extinction in Britain early last century after persecution by farmers and gamekeepers.

Polecat The first kit had to be fed with a syringe

They were limited to a small area of Wales but are now on the rise again and can now be found throughout Wales, the midlands and central southern England and parts of Scotland.

Ellie West from the RSPCA said she had only dealt with two polecats in 15 years.

"It is quite unusual to have so many babies found in such a short period of time," she said.

"They were not injured, but they had all been found without their parents who had not returned to them," she said.

  • They are closely related to the domestic ferrets and have blackish hairs with yellow under fur on the body, and dark "bandit" patches around the face
  • Their name comes from the French 'poule chat' or 'chicken cat' because they were thought to be a threat to poultry
  • The polecat's diet consists of rabbits and rats and they are often found around farm buildings in winter hunting rats
  • In the wild, a female polecat usually has one litter of five to eight kits per year in May/June
  • Babies are born hairless and blind and begin to eat meat from three weeks. In September/ October, the kits leave the mother to try to build a territory of their own
  • Although they occur in a wide range of habitats, they prefer lowland areas such as valleys and farmland with hedgerows and small woods

More on This Story

Related Stories

More Wales stories


Features & Analysis

  • Cartoon of women chatting on the metroChat wagon

    The interesting things you hear in a women-only carriage

  • Replica of a cargo boxSpecial delivery

    The man who posted himself to the other side of the world

  • Music scoreFinal score Watch

    Goodbye to NYC's last classical sheet music shop

  • Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton checks her Blackberry from a desk inside a C-17 military plane upon her departure from Malta, in the Mediterranean Sea, bound for Tripoli, Libya'Emailgate'

    Hillary gets a taste of scrutiny that lies ahead

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • Audi R8Best in show

    BBC Autos takes a look at 10 of the most eye-catching new cars at the 2015 Geneva motor show


  • A cyborg cockroachClick Watch

    The cyborg cockroach – why has a computer been attached to this insect’s nervous system?

Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.